With all the accusations of fraud and attempts to run it according to the wishes of those who possess money and weapons, Sunni political forces hold their hope in the new election law to enhance their chances in the next parliament, especially after their effective decline in their representation in previous sessions.
The Sunnis occupy 73 out of 329 seats in the current parliament, distributed among several political blocs, compared to what they were in the past at 90 seats, before they retreated due to the systematic exclusion they suffered during the era of former Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, which spanned two consecutive terms. It ended in 2014, according to Mohi Al-Ansari, a researcher at the Al-Rasheed Center for Studies and Development.
Al-Ansari adds that many of the symbols of the year were subjected to legal prosecutions during Maliki’s period that ended in them outside Iraq and the political process, in addition to the arrest of others, some of whom were finally proven innocent.
And he continues that the Sunni component witnessed its worst case of random arrests, marginalization and intimidation during that period when the regime was characterized by sectarianism, which led to a great reluctance to participate in the elections, according to Al-Ansari.
In the context, Riyad Al-Masoudi, deputy of the “Sairoun” coalition (supported by the Sadr movement) believes that the fortunes of all components of the new law will not be different from previous sessions, and if they are affected, it will not be more than 10% decrease or increase.
Al-Masoudi explained – to Al-Jazeera Net – that the delay in approving the law was due to the different components because they do not want to lose their representation, and therefore the law was approved taking into account the geographical, demographic and political composition, and therefore there will be no significant impact on representation on the next parliament.
On the other hand, Hadar Barzani, an MP for the Kurdistan Democratic Party, believes – in her interview with Al Jazeera – that there are several scenarios that could arise according to the new electoral law, and he did not deviate from the context of partnership and balance between all the components stipulated in the Iraqi constitution, and he did not lose sight of the desires of Protesters in Tahrir Square.
For his part, political analyst Yahya Al-Kubaisi says that one of the main reasons for the decline in Sunni representation is the processes that directly affect the election results, in addition to the significant decrease in the number of Sunni participants in the elections for several reasons, especially in Baghdad governorate, and this in turn led to a decrease in the number of seats in Governorates of a Sunni nature such as Diyala (east), Nineveh and Salah al-Din (north).
In his speech to Al-Jazeera, he added that the fortunes of the Sunnis in those provinces have declined dramatically, especially in Diyala, because the Islamic State’s control over them allowed the Shiite factions to penetrate, after the liberation battles, and to control their capabilities, including the elections.
Despite the passage of the new multi-constituency law for the elections, it may not change the scene and may have a negative impact on the Sunnis, because the electoral districts are designed “arbitrarily” and for the interests of specific political forces and constituencies, and then the percentage of Sunni representation in parliament will decrease, according to Al-Kubaisi. .
The political analyst Ali Agwan agreed with what Al-Kubaisi said, attributing that to the fact that the division of circles is not without interests, in addition to that it will serve the organized forces such as the Sadrist movement and the Kurds.
Agwan added – in a call with Al Jazeera Net – that the poor performance and representation of the Sunni forces in the power center in Baghdad, and their lack of security and economic files in their regions, provided an opportunity for the encroachment of non-Sunni forces into Sunni areas, and thus this was reflected in the representative and government representation. Major forgery is excluded.
Relying on awareness
Agwan believes that restoring the Sunnis to their true representation must stem from awareness in choosing their representatives, and then if there are real community efforts capable of selecting qualified people, this will be more equitable than the new law and any other law, given that all laws are in it. Pros and cons, and they cannot be according to the desires of sects and nationalities, but rather they exist for a specific environment.
For his part, the researcher in the administrative affairs of the elections, Muhammad al-Ani, believes that the law is taken on two axes, the first is the individual candidacy, which the law has limited, which will benefit the regional and tribal people, and although it will reduce the quality of the vote, since voting will be subject to favoritism, it has an opportunity for the Sunnis, But on the condition that they lack organization, and that they choose their candidates well.
He explained to Al-Jazeera that the second most important axis is to work on managing electoral campaigns according to a scientific study and methods that depend on the qualitative quantity in everything, studying the areas of candidates, their personalities and their numbers in the same district, and ensuring that the characteristics match, especially those who have previous experiences, and this may enhance their representation. In Parliament.
According to these accounts, Al-Ani emphasized that the Sunnis on paper have great chances of restoring their representation even at the level of their regions in the southern governorates with a Shiite majority, in addition to what the adoption of the biometric card would represent exclusively to vote in limiting fraud, as well as the role that citizens will play in receiving their cards.
Commenting on this, legal expert Tariq Harb assured – to Al Jazeera Net – that the division of electoral districts in the new law will contribute to restoring the fortunes of the Sunnis as in the past and perhaps more, because there is no one crowding them out in their areas, in addition to that they were able to draw their regions’ districts according to what suits them.
Harb concluded by saying that what was amended in the election law regarding individual candidacy and defining the shape of districts in terms of number and geographical boundaries for each governorate, in turn, will determine the candidates in their respective regions, and prevent crawling towards others, as well as preventing the transfer of votes from the leaders of the blocs and the votes of the blocs to the rest of the candidates. It was in the previous law, and this will limit the candidate’s rise to the limits of what he achieves in his region, which could provide an opportunity for new Sunnis to rise away from competing with others in their regions.